Iowa investigators looking into prostitutes-for-pipeline claim
MONTROSE, Iowa -- The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating an allegation by a southeast Iowa man that a pipeline representative offered to hire prostitutes if the man let a pipeline cross his family farm. Agents from the DCI's...
MONTROSE, Iowa -- The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating an allegation by a southeast Iowa man that a pipeline representative offered to hire prostitutes if the man let a pipeline cross his family farm .
Agents from the DCI’s major crime unit talked Friday with Hughie Tweedy, 61, of rural Montrose, Tweedy said. The agents also requested an audio recording Tweedy secretly made of a Nov. 20 conversation with a right of way agent working with Dakota Access LLC, a subsidiary of Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, the company looking to build a 1,134-mile crude oil pipeline through 18 Iowa counties.
Dakota Access is proposing the pipeline from the Bakken crude supply area in North Dakota to Pakota, Ill., including a 343-mile diagonal route across Iowa.
“I turned the audio over to the Iowa DCI and the local county attorney,” Tweedy said earlier this week. “I don’t know what they’re looking for.”
DCI Spokesman Alex Murphy confirmed the investigation.
Tweedy said he recorded the conversation with the agent to keep the pipeline off his property, 165 acres of mixed farmland and woods just west of the Mississippi River in Lee County. Officials have indicated they will use eminent domain laws if owners won’t sign voluntary easements.
Tweedy let reporters listen to the recording last week , but would not allow them to take notes or record the conversation. Tweedy said his attorney has advised him the tape may become part of a legal proceeding.
In the approximately 15-minute recording, a voice matching Tweedy’s reminds another man, purportedly the agent, of previous talks in which the agent hinted at hiring him a prostitute. The man suggests they go to St. Louis, where he can hire two or three 19-year-old women for $1,200. The man also mentions an escort service.
They talk about other matters, including the likelihood pipeline executives might bypass Tweedy’s land because of a campground Tweedy has been trying to build.
It’s unclear what criminal charges could be considered from the recording.
Lee County Sheriff Jim Sholl said he listened to the audio and didn’t think the alleged actions fit the legal requirements for solicitation. Solicitation is usually linked to prostitution, but Iowa Code defines it as being committed by a “person who commands, entreats or otherwise attempts to persuade another to commit a particular felony or aggravated misdemeanor.”
“We learned that DCI was ordered to come down here and do an investigation, which they did,” Sholl said. “If DCI wants to handle it, that’s fine with us.”
Tweedy first captured media attention May 11 when he spoke on the steps of the Capitol about the alleged offer . Dakota Access said at the time that the company was aware of the allegation and was investigating.
Company Spokeswoman Vicki Anderson Granado said Tuesday she could not comment on pending legal matters.